Santiago de Cuba is a lovely city nestled between the sea and the mountains, between blue and green. In order to understand that city and its artists, to its singular geological and architectural characteristics we must add a strong personality and a luminous, colorful, extroverted, noisy and welcoming setting.
Antonio Ferrer Cabello sings to the city and its residents. Portraying the former, he rejoices in improbable but real spaces, in the reddish tone of its locally made roof tiles, in the hundred-year-old balconies, in the cobblestones worn down by the incessant comings and goings of its inhabitants and curious visitors on steep, narrow streets.
He captures the city’s soul like no one else, beyond all visible forms. Gazing at his canvases, we forget that painting is two-dimensional as we “penetrate” those idealized panoramas, where it’s always noon and everything seems to doze in the stupor of the siesta. But that sun doesn’t burn us. That’s how pleasant Ferrer’s Santiago is.
In this regard, Jorge Hidalgo comments:
There are some of Ferrer’s cityscapes that I call “rooftop landscapes,” because clearly he has painted them from his studio or some high point, and they are impressive. This is something that no other painter has achieved, not even the golden watercolorists, as I call Hernández Giro, Bofill and others who – although they are masters – have not portrayed that Santiago de Cuba that Ferrer captures from the rooftops.
And Julia Valdés adds:
No one else is as adept in capturing our city’s luminosity and brilliant color in those landscapes, and from the viewpoint of composition, the city’s architecture and the contours of the land. His stroke is dynamic and I would say that his most recent phase is more daring than the previous ones, and his palette much richer.…
Ferrer Cabello creates Caribbean images. Feverishly devoted to them, he has delved into an iconographic world which is ever richer and more diverse, in constant evolution. The men and women are inserted in the city as if it were a huge, colorful fan. In careful detail, he explores the possibilities offered by his surroundings. Nothing escapes the master’s palette: carnival, the Cubans’ joy and love of crowds. He has given us a vast collection of portraits of conspicuous characters from Santiago de Cuba and other latitudes, as well as affectionate views of the countryside. Ferrer seems to feel a constant need to reveal life itself. He is a man in his 90s who is born each day, creating scenes full of images that are significant, among other reasons, for their documentary value.
His works are like windows opening onto the world, helping us to shape our values and ultimately our consciousness. This master has the constant need to find the essential nature of the reality surrounding us, often by delving into its narrative content. Ferrer presents us with his own universe, which seems to be inexhaustible.